A Tender Page of Beige

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A naughty little book

for quiet fireside evenings!

An imagination,

a glass of wine.

and…  thou ? !

Such a poetic note, handwritten, and a rather pleasant surprise, as it was found upon opening the book, on a blank page of paper no less…one with many shades of beige.

I picked up this book at what is now my favorite used book store. It’s full of pleasant surprises and mysteries, some of which are too private for posting. What’s pleasant about this handwritten note above is not only the words but the beautiful calligraphy, almost a work of art in itself as it looks so genuine. And as this wonderful gypsy that sold it to me pointed out, “I wonder who she was?” which were my thoughts exactly, as in, “What was her story?

As it turns out, the book is a hard cover first edition. It is a book of short stories by an author who’s work I’ve only read once before, about 30 years ago now. It’s called “Little Birds: Erotica by Anais Nin” which was published shortly after her death.

I’ve mentioned a little about erotica in my last few posts, including a discomfort in getting caught up in its current popularity. So I received another surprise in this book, and this occurs before the stories begin, in the preface. I’m including a quote from that preface, as she expresses how I feel about the whole issue of writing of the erotic better than I can…really quite remarkable!

Before adding this quote I should mention that Anais Nin had a soft spot for these writers, ones she knew at the time, who wrote a lot of erotica. She talks sympathetically about how these people were poor and hungry and wrote in this style simply for the money. She then goes on to say:

It is one thing to include eroticism in a novel or a story and quite another to focus one’s whole attention on it. The first is like life itself. It is, I might say, natural, sincere, as in the sensual pages of Zola or of Lawrence. But focusing wholly on the sexual life is not natural. It becomes something like the life of the prostitute, an abnormal activity that ends up turning the prostitute away from the sexual. Writers perhaps know this. That is why they have written only one confession or a few short stories, on the side, to satisfy their honesty about life, as Mark Twain did.

But what happens to a group of writers who need money so badly that they devote themselves entirely to the erotic? How does this affect their lives, their feelings toward the world, their writing? What effect has it on their sexual life?

As I’m typing this quote I keep thinking of it in the context of not so much the writing of the day, but of mass media in general, the eroticism of it all, whether it’s magazines, the internet, music videos or television. The words of Anais Nin become somewhat prophetic in the sense that our culture has somehow lost its way in this assault on our senses…how much candy is too much?

And with that I look forward to finding another book of hers, titled, “The Novel of The Future”.

PS – I didn’t realize it before, but her writing is the epitome of “The Elements of Style”…a wonderful companion!

 

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5 thoughts on “A Tender Page of Beige

  1. Pingback: Sunni Daze are almost Here! | lawrence grodecki

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